A guest blog by Cynda Covert, Gamma Epsilon Chapter
Four-fifty AM. On a normal day, there’s no way I’d be up that early, but it was not a normal day. I hopped behind the wheel, caffeine sustenance in hand, and began the four-hour drive to Orlando for National Convention 2012.
“Are you a peanut?” was the first question I was asked at registration. From my blank stare, it was clear that I had no idea what I was. The helpful staff explained that the “Peanut Gallery” was made up of Brothers who were neither the elected Delegates nor Alternates for Grand Chapter, but still wanted to watch the action. I took my place with the Peanuts, and was immediately astounded by the sheer number of people in the room. Delegates and Alternates from 130 undergraduate Chapters, Alumni Chapters, National Staff, National Council, and a number of Peanuts all under the same roof. It was comforting to know that in a room full of strangers, everyone was connected.
While the Business part of Grand Chapter isn’t always exciting, it was interesting to compare my own Chapter’s policies and opinions with those from across the country. If I got lost in the complications of Robert’s Rules of Order, I’d let my eyes drift across the room in search of the most innovative Phi Sigma Pi attire, including Zeta Epsilon’s “How I Met Your Brother” shirts and Epsilon Delta’s purple and gold hair bows.
Saturday brought a more mellow side of National Convention, beginning with National President Jonah Goodman’s inspiring address regarding the future of the fraternity. His words, “Dream big,” resonated with me the most. I always knew this organization would help me achieve my goals, but I loved seeing that involvement doesn’t have to stop after college. Next on the schedule were the Roundtable Discussions and Leadership in Action modules. Krista Kay taught us how to be “Awesomists” and stressed the importance of a positive attitude. The hot topics during Roundtable consisted of recruitment, maintaining Alumni relations, and improving Inter-Chapter Relations. It was curious to see that the same issues that concern my Chapter affect Chapters of all sizes nationwide. Everyone had their notebooks out during the exchange of new ideas, and it was by far one of my favorite events of the weekend.
Festooned with purple and gold balloons, National Convention culminated with the semi-formal Banquet. After a moving speech by the new Vice President of Chapter Development, David Serafini, Chapters were recognized for their achievements throughout the year. The awards ranged from the Purple and Gold Awards and Top in Region Awards to the highly coveted Torchia Outstanding Chapter Award, won by Beta Nu Chapter from Cornell University. Emotions ran high, and the brotherly love was almost palpable. I know I will return to National Convention next year. Not only because they played the “Wobble” at the After-Hours party, but also to continue my newly formed friendships with Brothers from coast to coast.
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